Malaysia: Helping refugees and indigenous communities
Feedback: Helping refugees and indigenous communities
“I sometimes dream of going back to my own state when the situation gets better, only if there were no more killings, no persecution, no displacement, and only if I could live like other ethnic groups there.”~25 year old Rohingya refugee woman in Malaysia
It has been several years since hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fled in terror from Myanmar. Escaping violence, rape, killing and destruction of their homes, many of them are now living in refugee camps in Bangladesh. Some, though, have made their home in Malaysia, and are struggling to regroup and rebuild their lives.
Crossroads sent a shipment to Malaysia, where our partners work closely with some of these refugee communities, as well as some other vulnerable indigenous groups. The situation they described since Covid-19 was grim. “Because of the pandemic, they’ve been jobless for a year,” they said. “Nobody is supporting them. They first appealed for basic food. But then we discovered they don’t have any hygiene products or enough clothes.”
When Crossroads’ shipment arrived, it included goods to support more than 4,000 families like:
- Face masks and thermometers for Covid-prevention
- Computers, school furniture and school supplies
The computers and school goods have enabled them to set up a learning centre for the refugee community, saving them USD10,000 that they might otherwise have needed to raise to establish the centre.
The shipment also brought goods to give joy to some of the children in these communities. “It’s easy to think that ‘aid to the needy’ comes in the form of food,” said staff. “But to the healthy growth of a child, education and fun are not secondary needs. These books, stationery, kids’ scooters, and brand new clothes came all the way from Hong Kong and they put a smile of the faces of these children.”
Malaysia itself has had an incredibly challenging time during Covid-19, with long lockdowns that cause devastating unemployment, and a death toll that is rising once again. For those communities who are already very poor and vulnerable, such as the Rohingya, the need for help is all the more urgent. We’re so glad to support the work of our partners there reaching out in practical care and compassion.
Volunteers load the shipment for Malaysia at Crossroads Village, Hong Kong.
Above and below: Crossroads’ partners and beneficiaries with donated goods traveling by boat to help indigenous communities in need.
“It’s easy to think that ‘aid to the needy’ comes in the form of food,” said staff. “But to the healthy growth of a child, education and fun are not secondary needs. These books, stationery, kids’ scooters, and brand-new clothes put a smile of the faces of these children.”
Families facing long Covid lockdowns and school closures are grateful to be part of our partners’ ‘One Family, One Desktop’ scheme, distributing desktop computers from Crossroads’ shipment to children from low-income families. They also used computers from our shipment to set up learning centres for refugee communities (below).
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